Earlier this month, the Reboot Foundation released a fascinating new study on critical thinking, a skill which more than 95 percent of Americans think necessary in today’s world. The study found that while the public claims that they engage opposing views, they don’t actually engage other views in practice. Indeed, only 25 percent of people are willing to regularly have debates with people who disagree with them. Another 25 percent of people rarely or never seek out people who have different views than theirs.
One possible reason for the discrepancy between what we think about critical thinking and how we practice it is our country’s educational system. Only half of the survey’s respondents say their schools gave them strong critical thinking skills. At home, too, strong critical thinking skills appear to be lacking: although parents claim to teach critical thinking skills to their children, only 20 percent of parents frequently or very often ask their children to consider an opposing view.
The survey’s results bring up important questions about who is responsible for teaching the skill of critical thinking. About 48 percent of parents surveyed say that they (the parents) should be responsible for teaching critical thinking. Another 41 percent believe that educators should be responsible, while another 22 percent believe that children themselves should be responsible for learning how to think more effectively.
The Learning Agency team helped pull together the report, and it received some fantastic press coverage including pieces in Forbes, Quartz, the Washington Post Writer, the Washington Examiner.